$7M grant awarded to Save Mt. Diablo for Finley Road Ranch purchase

Riggs Canyon and Foley

$7M grant awarded to Save Mt. Diablo for Finley Road Ranch purchase

$7M grant awarded to Save Mt. Diablo for Finley Road Ranch purchase
View from Black Hills ridge of Finley Road Ranch east through Morgan Territory Regional Preserve toward Finley Road and Highland Ridge. (Photo: Scott Hein)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Mar. 1, 2023) — In February, the East Bay Regional Park District was granted $7 million from the California Coastal Conservancy for the purchase of the $11.4 million 768-acre Finley Road Ranch property. This grant completes the funding for the property, which should close escrow in April.

The property is one of the two most important missing staging areas for Mount Diablo and a top five priority for Save Mount Diablo. In September, Save Mount Diablo donated $50,000 to the East Bay Regional Park District as 25 percent of the $200,000 option payment to secure the initial option agreement for Finley Road Ranch and hold it while fundraising was taking place.

The property is located at the mouth of Riggs Canyon off Finley Road at the western edge of Morgan Territory Regional Preserve and the southern edge of Mount Diablo State Park.

“Acquisition of the Finley Road Ranch property will preserve forever one of the largest remaining pristine open spaces adjacent to Mount Diablo State Park,” said East Bay Regional Park Park District Board President Dennis Waespi. “The California Coastal Conservancy grant provides vital funding toward the purchase of the property. Preserving the property is also a key step toward the state’s 30×30 initiative of conserving 30 percent of the state’s lands and coastal waters by 2030.”

“We have partnered with the Park District, Mount Diablo State Park, and the Coastal Conservancy for decades to create the Mount Diablo to Morgan Territory wildlife and recreation corridor,” said Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director. “This property will open up Riggs Canyon and make many miles of trails and thousands of acres easily accessible so that the public can better connect with nature.”

The East Bay Regional Park District is a supporter of the state’s 30×30 initiative and participates in the initiative’s partnership coordinating committee. This committee works toward implementing the policies of the 30×30 initiative and facilitates coordination among state and federal public agencies, tribal partners, and other non-governmental partners. Park District Deputy General Manager Dr. Ana M. Alvarez was appointed to serve on the committee in August 2022 by California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot.

“The Coastal Conservancy is delighted to support acquisition of this 768-acre property and further the state’s 30×30 goals by protecting this important conservation property while also providing greater access to existing parkland,” said California Coastal Conservancy Executive Director Amy Hutzel.

Map of the vicinity: Finley Road Ranch (in yellow), Tassajara Parks dedication in green cross hatch. Since the mid-1980s the East Bay Regional, Park District, Save Mount Diablo, and California State Parks have acquired seven parcels and 3,300 acres to connect Morgan Territory.

The $7 million grant for acquisition of Finley Ranch Road property was one of 12 grants recently announced by the California Coastal Conservancy to advance restoration, protection, public access, and climate resilience along the California coast and San Francisco Bay.

“We very much appreciate the California Coastal Conservancy for its leadership in preserving natural lands and shorelines throughout the state and providing this critical funding,” said Park District General Manager Sabrina Landreth. “We thank the state, our partners, and staff for their contribution toward the acquisition that supports our mission and the state’s 30×30 goals to conserve nature for future generations.”

The East Bay Regional Park District was also recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the California State Parks Habitat Conservation Fund for acquisition of the property.

The Finley Road Ranch property includes a flat, accessible area that provides the opportunity for a staging area at the entrance to Riggs Canyon, which would significantly improve public access to the property, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve, and adjacent Mount Diablo State Park.

Save Mount Diablo

Save Mount Diablo is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, watersheds, and connection to the Diablo Range through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide educational and recreational opportunities consistent with protection of natural resources. To learn more, please visit www.savemountdiablo.org.